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Fredericton Marathon sees high participation, world record 'joggling' attempt

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They were told it would likely take another year to recover from the pandemic that saw many marathon events cancelled, but Fredericton Marathon organizers say this year’s participation is up 25 per cent over last year – bringing them back to pre-pandemic numbers.

Over 2,800 people were registered for this weekend’s events which included a youth fun run, 5k, 10k, half and full marathons.

Race directors believe good weather and an attractive course are the reasons behind the high participation.

“They're actually coming from all over Canada. We are seeing some people from the U.S. now coming as well. I think part of that is, it's a flat course. People looking to run a Boston qualifier, this is a great race to do so. We've had great success with that. Last year we had over 33 per cent of our marathon finishers actually qualify for Boston,” said co-race director Christine Little.

Every year the event gives back to a variety of charities, totalling $135,000 in 12 years.

“We get great community support, and that's what you do, you give back and maybe people will just catch on too,” said co-race director Bruce MacFarlane.

“It's very contagious.”

This year’s event saw a new record in the women’s full marathon.

Sarah Mulcahy, a U.S. Olympian trial marathoner, surpassed her own record set in last year’s marathon, coming in at 2:50:10.

“It's kind of like surreal and amazing, all of that because I'm just a small town girl from Fort Kent,” Mulcahy said.

“You know, I just, I'm a mom, I'm a teacher, I'm a coach. I don't strive to do anything more than do better than my own time. So, you know, setting the record isn't necessarily always my goal. It's more or less to just do better than I did the last time. So it's kind of exciting.”

The athlete from Maine says it’s the atmosphere that saw her sign up again this year.

“It's a very family friendly race, so like, my husband did the 5K yesterday, my kids did the kids’ run. So we were able to, like everybody, kind of have a little bit of fun, get a medal this weekend and enjoy the race,” she said.

N.B. joggler just misses the mark on world record attempt

New Brunswicker and athlete Jean-Marc Doiron made a world record attempt at this year’s marathon – running the 42 kms while juggling.

Jean-Marc Doiron runs the Fredericton marathon while juggling for the "joggling" world record. (CTV/Laura Brown)

He had set the full marathon record at the event in 2018 – without juggling – but wanted to add in the challenge.

The world record for the fastest joggling marathon was set by Port Hope, Ontario’s, Michal Kapral in 2007. Kapral finished the race in two hours, 50 minutes and 12 seconds.

Doiron finished in 2:52:39.

Emotional, he told reporters he was disappointed.

“This has been a big adventure, and there's so many people who were watching and I was just so sure that I would get it, and, to come so close, that's the first emotion,” he said.

In order to make the attempt, Doiron had to run with a camera on his chest to capture the run.

If he dropped a ball, he had to return to the spot where he dropped it and start again. He says he did drop a ball about 10-15 times.

Doiron felt he was too overconfident, and started a little too fast.

He still finished 19th overall, and ninth in his division.

“It was a lot of learning. So I would try it again and just be a bit more humble about it. I think that's, that's kind of probably the difference,” he said.

For more New Brunswick news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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